Good morning, you beautiful people. Looking around at publishing news of late, I noticed it was quite polarizing. It was either exciting and uplifting, or it was dismal. I’m here to deliver it to you, fresh, hot, and ready to devour.
We’ll start with something Brilliant:
#PitchWars is coming up. Yes, Pitch Wars. Exactly one week from today, unagented writers will have a chance to pitch mentors with their best work. Mentors—who are agented and/or published authors—will each pick one favorite to coach, polish, and prepare for the agent pitching event on January 22nd and 23rd. This is a great opportunity for unagented writers to get advice and critiques from authors who’ve been there, done that, and made it through the slush. And hey, you could even land an agent!
If you want details, check this out.
And now for something Not-So-Brilliant:
You may or may not have heard about the class-action lawsuit against electronic giant Apple. Basically, Apple is being sued for eBook price-fixing. Allegedly, Apple conspired with Hachette, Macmillan, Penguin, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster (note that Random House isn’t on the list, but later merged with Penguin who is on the list, so it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out) to fix eBook prices. You can read a bit more about it here and here.
Apple claims it did nothing illegal, and states that it’s entry into the eBook world is even beneficial, breaking a virtual monopoly held by Amazon. (I’d be inclined to agree with that last part.)
At this point, Apple is attempting to kill the lawsuit. We’ll see how it goes.
The reason I have this listed under Not-So-Brilliant is this: everyone is asking how the result of this case is going to affect publishers, distributors, retailers, and consumers. No one is asking how it’s going to affect the writers, the authors, the creators of the works potentially under price-fixing and manipulation.
Well, that’s us, guys.
In my opinion, writers have a strange relationship with this case. We most certainly benefit from competition in the industry. We’d like to have our readership able to get their hands on our work in as many ways as possible. If that means downloading it to an Apple product instead of a Kindle, fantastic! We’d like them to have the best options available, and the best prices. But, and this has to be said, if Apple truly has done nothing illegal, we’re to benefit from a higher price on the cover. We’re getting a percentage off the cover price, right? So a higher cover price = more profit for the writer.
What’s your opinion on this case?
Here’s something Brilliant:
Publishers Weekly has named their Best Children’s Books of 2013!
Making the list are DOLL BONES by Holly Black, GHOST HAWK by Susan Cooper, BETTER NATE THAN NEVER by Tim Fedle, ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell, and REALITY BOY by A.S. King.
Something particularly awesome I noticed about the list of 29 books: there’s a great deal of diversity! There is a decently even distribution of male and female authors, as well as racial diversity. In addition, there’s a span of children’s categories and genres represented, including MG, YA, contemporary, fantasy, historical fiction, and more. In addition, there are debut authors present as well as publishing veterans, and come from traditional publishers while others come from independent presses.
This pleases me.
Check out the full list here.
In the Not-So-Brilliant Category, we have Follett Higher Education Group laying off 10% of its employees.
Follett Higher Education Group is a division of the Follett Corporation, which provides books, texts, and other educational products to colleges, schools, and public libraries. Due to this layoff, 570 of its full-time employees at 400 bookstores are now unemployed.
Layoffs don’t bode well for any part of any industry.
On the Brilliant flip-side, The Perseus Books Group recently reported “strong” financial results for the last fiscal year. Their imprints housed many award-winning books and bestselling authors, and revenue and profits went over budget. They also hit landmarks this year, such as surpassing 30,000 titles for sale, and printing their 2 millionth book.
Here’s what I take away from this, dolls. There are some unpleasant things happening in this industry. And certainly, there always will be. But there are also some hopeful, wonderful, and Brilliant things. Those are the things on which we should focus, so we don’t get stopped up and caught up in that THE PUBLISHING WORLD IS ENDING line of thinking that prevents words from manifesting in our hearts and pouring out our fingertips.